Toll cool as TWU turns up the heat


Industrial argy-bargy in the offing as as enterprise bargaining negotiations get underway

April 16, 2013

Toll is playing its cards close to its chest as enterprise bargaining negotiations
with the Transport Workers Union (TWU)
get underway.

The present agreement is due to expire on June 30.

"Toll looks forward to commencing enterprise bargaining negotiations and will negotiate with the union and our employees in good faith," a Toll spokesman says.

"We believe we have the most highly skilled and capable workforce and already pay industry best wages that recognise that."

The process has long been anticipated, having been flagged at the start of the year, but the union has now raised specifically the prospect of strike action in pursuit of its demands.

The negotiations will cover about 8,500 Toll employees, with, it is understood, some benefits flowing on to subcontractors.

The TWU says its campaign will focus on safety and training as well as lifting pay – up 4 percent a year for three years – and superannuation – up from 11.5 to 15 percent.

"Today, our member-led negotiation team begin discussions with management for a new agreement across the Toll Group," National Secretary Tony Sheldon says.

"Our team will be negotiating strongly for a deal that recognises and rewards workers at Toll for delivering bumper profits for the business.

"The Toll Group is one of the largest and most profitable transport and logistics providers in Australia. Profits for the last financial year topped $400 million and the company has flagged its intention to continue to expand both here in Australia and across the world."

The union has undertaken a survey of members at nearly 300 yards nationwide.

"It’s clear from the responses that fair and reasonable wage and superannuation improvements are vital," Sheldon says.

"TWU members also intend to fight hard on safety and training. On this occasion as in times gone by, workers at Toll will stand united to demand the strong safety standards and conditions at the company don't slip."

"Toll workers have also indicated a strong desire for better job security, including ensuring equal pay and conditions where work is contracted out, so that truckies in the same yard, doing the same work, get the same deal.

"We will also seek Toll’s support for lifting standards right across the industry, to tackle the lethal pressures from the principal employers in the road transport industry - major retail clients like Coles.

"We know that forthright and robust negotiations will take place over the coming weeks and months as we pursue an outcome that reflects the work and worth of the workforce at Toll."

TWU National Assistant Secretary Michael Kaine acknowledges that Toll faces supply chain pressures from big retailers but says the number of workers employed directly by Toll had fallen from 93 percent 15 years ago to 48 percent today.

"By and large Toll agreements contain fair conditions for workers but there is a real prospect of a fight this round. Workers are upset about the company putting new workers and contractors on inferior rates,’’ Kaine adds.

"They see it as a threat to their job security.

"We will be seeking to change that and put in place co-operative arrangements with the company, but if push comes to shove it seems to us from our survey responses that workers will be ready to strike after June 30."

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